The Centre on Thursday exempted eight institutions of excellence from implementing the 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS).
Other central universities and colleges will have to implement the quota from 2019-20 session, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry said in an order to educational regulatory bodies as well as all states and Union Territories. The scheme for implementing the quota should be displayed on the websites of all the concerned institutions by March 31, it added.
The order came a week after Parliament cleared the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill guaranteeing the quota in education and employment in the general category.
Mumbai’s Homi Bhabha National Institute and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (Shillong) are among the eight institutions of excellence.
The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, specifies the institutions of excellence as those involved in “niche research” and advanced study and research in subjects like nuclear physics.
The other institutions have been given the option of giving “representations” in case they face financial, infrastructure or academic constraints in applying the quota. They can do so also in case the annual permitted strength in a branch of study or faculty cannot be increased immediately in the upcoming session. The order said an “appropriate authority” in such cases may permit institutions to increase seats over a two-year period.
The HRD ministry issued the order following directions from the social justice and empowerment ministry, which had tabled the bill in Parliament for providing the quota.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar this week said the implementation of the quota would lead to an increase of 25% seats to ensure that those for other categories are not affected.
The order said every central institution shall increase the number of seats in each branch of study or faculty to implement the quota while ensuring that the share for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Class and general category does not decrease.
Former University Grants Commission member Inder Mohan Kapahy called the exemption desirable and required. “Most of these specialised academic institutes [of excellence] have done excellent academic work and should be protected from being burdened by admitting students only on the basis of reservations,’’ Kapahy said. “The decision of increasing the intake by 25% in two years is also welcome. It should be extended, if required, even more. Sincere efforts are required to match the available infrastructure with the admitted students.”